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Rescue operation is launched to save seal stranded on Hythe beach

A rescue operation is underway to save an 'uncooperative' seal stranded on Hythe beach.

The animal, thought to be injured, was found earlier today (Monday) along the coastline near Princes Parade.

The common seal, an adult, is 4ft long and too big to move tonight. Picture: RSPCA
The common seal, an adult, is 4ft long and too big to move tonight. Picture: RSPCA

Officers from the RSPCA, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and a vet have all visited the beach to monitor the situation.

But without special equipment the common seal is too big to remove from the shingle, and will have to stay for the time being.

At four foot long, it will not fit in the cages used to pick up seal pups, and a large crate is needed.

Julia Cable, from British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: "The seal on the beach is an adult common seal.

"The seal is too big to safely capture without a more equipment which right now is not available.

Officers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the RSPCA are assisting in the rescue
Officers from British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the RSPCA are assisting in the rescue

"A vet has been down to the beach and taken a look at the seal and can’t see anything obviously wrong with it, it might have a sore mouth but we would need to get a closer inspection carried out.

"For now the seal is staying on the beach and we will monitor how it gets on and if necessary will get a larger crate and try to lift it from the beach."

A warning has now been issued by the RSPCA asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leads and to keep a safe distance away.

A spokesman for the charity added that the seal is "not co-operating": "There is currently a seal on Hythe beach, Princes Parade.

"He's resting but has some signs of injury.

"Our local Animal Welfare Officer, along with Burnham House vets has spent most of the day trying to capture him for transfer to Mallydams RSPCA Wildlife Centre at Hastings.

The creature appears to have a sore mouth
The creature appears to have a sore mouth

"He's currently not co-operating and it's not been possible to capture him.

"The team involved will return for another attempt but in the meantime please keep your distance and please KEEP DOGS ON LEADS when nearby."

The charity recommend that if you see a seal that appears healthy, it should be left alone.

It adds: "Seals can be incredibly strong and powerful wild animals and have a very nasty bite which can cause horrible wounds, which could become infected by the bacteria that live in a seal’s mouth.

"We would also ask the public to not get close to seals in order to take pictures or even selfies with them.

He stayed on the beach for a 'rest'. Picture credit: RSPCA
He stayed on the beach for a 'rest'. Picture credit: RSPCA

“Please do not try to encourage them back into the water as seals may haul out to rest, or if they're unwell.

"And please do not try to feed the seal as this may do more harm than good.

"If you are concerned about them, try to observe from a distance for at least 24 hours if you can.

"If the seal is at risk, sick or injured, or if it's a pup and the mother has not returned for 24 hours, please contact the RSPCA's hotline on 0300 1234 999."

  • By Tuesday morning the seal had left the beach. An RSPCA spokesman said: "Our visitor yesterday seems to have moved on. Despite a great team-effort he didn't want to be 'rescued' for some minor medical care and rest. This suggests he's feeling better."

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.


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